5 Reasons To Sign Your Child Up For Ballet (Especially #5)
What do you think of when you hear about children's ballet lessons?
Tutus, tippy toes and all of the magic associated with being a ballerina, right? Kids naturally light up and love the thought of ballet.
But do you know all of the benefits, life lessons, and values your child will learn from ballet?
In this guide, you'll discover the five most important benefits children learn from taking lessons and carry with them for the rest of their lives.
In ballet class, children learn to feel beautiful, capable, and in control of their bodies. Feeling proud of their accomplishments and the hard work it takes to get there, their improved confidence shines through at school, with friends, and at home!
For example, recently one of my students shied away from performing ballet, even for her parents. I worked privately with this seven-year-old student on a solo showcasing her strengths and artistry. When she was ready, I invited her parents to a special performance so she could show them how hard she had been working.
Watching her perform that day with such poise and confidence was such a gratifying moment as a teacher. I know she will carry that feeling with her for the rest of her life.
Being insecure and nervous to perform in front of others is a very normal feeling that I think we can all identify with. Applying for a job, going on a first date, or moving across the country, are all opportunities to rise to the challenge, or give up. I'm convinced the lesson this student learned in ballet will instill the inner voice to keep going when doubt tries to stop her.
By teaching children at a young age not to be afraid of failing, they feel more secure about themselves and their work.
2) Cognitive Development
Children are constantly learning and hitting milestones in their early development. This is called cognitive development: how children think, explore and figure things out.
Let's take a closer look at a few key components of cognitive development that we improve upon in ballet class:
Attention- sustained attention is the ability to focus on one task over a period of time. Students under the age of five typically have a very short attention span when they first start class with me. Getting distracted easily and running about the studio is where they often start. But soon something changes. And this is one of my favorite transformations to see in my students. They learn to be fully engaged, focused and interested in our lesson. Without it, new learning simply will not happen, in ballet, school, and other extracurriculars.
Memory- working memory refers to the ability to remember instructions or keep information in the mind long enough to perform tasks. We work on our memory every single class by learning new steps, sequences of movement and choreography. During a full semester of ballet classes, I usually start with very simple sequences of movement that are easy to remember. Those simple sequences get more complex over time, making it harder to memorize, and giving students the constant challenge that they need to grow.
Speed of Information Processing- refers to how fast a student can process incoming information. Ballet steps and sequences are typically given out very quickly and students have to learn how to process this immediately and translate it to their mind AND body! By the end of a ballet semester, it is amazing to watch how fast students can retain and memorize choreography!
As a parent, wouldn't having kids with more discipline be a miracle?
Taking ballet class develops a self discipline of the mind and body like nothing else in this world. Ballet is hands down one of the most disciplined sports demanding strength and precision, while looking effortlessly poised and beautiful.
While I think it is very important to teach ballet from a positive approach and to give constant positive feedback, I expect great behavior, listening skills, posture and a very strong work ethic. I tell my students every class "Once you walk into this room you are a ballet dancer. We no longer slouch, complain or say 'I can't'. We are here to work hard and improve."
After a few classes of this speech, my students know as soon as they come to class what is expected of them. I know that they will carry this strong sense of self discipline with them in anything they do! It's contagious.
4) Balance, Posture, Coordination and Agility
I am sure you are well aware that your child can be very wobbly at times! Ballet classes can combat those wobbles and make your child have a much better sense of body awareness. I can personally tell a ballet dancer apart from a non ballet dancer just walking down the street. How?
The very first thing I teach students is how to sit and stand like a ballet dancer- with a straight back, long neck and relaxed shoulders. We then use this posture to create a balance and awareness of all of the body parts. In return, this helps them to become coordinated with the right and left side of the body, especially during complicated movements. After a student accomplishes these very important aspects of ballet, they are able to move with more agility- very seamless, quick and eloquently.
There's no quitting in ballet.
Ballet teaches children how to set goals and achieve them. They learn that quitting is not an option no matter how hard a task is. Determination keeps them focused and their emotions in check.
I have found the best results in teaching children how to work hard and efficiently by helping them set a goal and work diligently on that goal until they reach it. This sets them up for success and teaches them hard work is what it takes to hit their goal. Ballet is not an easy sport by any means. In fact, it is in an entirely different language and every single movement from the tips of the fingers to the tips of the toes is extremely precise.
One of the most gratifying moments for me as a teacher is to watch a student walk in the studio with a strong determination to work hard and do better, because they choose to. That is when I know that they have learned how to work towards something that they really want. After that, the possibilities are truly endless.
What's your favorite part of ballet lessons for children?